AFTER a difficult couple of years, the Bradford Park Avenue Ladies cricket team are starting to make a name for themselves.

They won their first ever Yorkshire Women and Girls Cricket League game last weekend against St Chad's Broomfield, have qualified for a final next month, and even featured on primetime BBC on Wednesday.

Avenue team-mates and sisters Nabila and Qulzam Qayum featured in a short video with Northern Superchargers star Phoebe Graham at the interval of the third England Women v India Women T20, talking about their journey in cricket and with the club.

And Avenue are only just getting started, with chairperson Kirsty Gavillet explaining: "We formed back in September 2019, but all league cricket stopped for us in 2020, with Yorkshire Cricket prioritising the men's game coming back.

"It was disappointing for us as it would have been our first year. We did virtual coaching and Zoom sessions to keep the squad engaged, so to then be told we'd have no games was a blow.

"We did arrange a few friendlies but it wasn't the same, but we finally had our first league fixture last week and won, and we're hoping to repeat that feat at Whiston tomorrow.

"We have been in another hardball tournament called the Super Eights, which began in May, and we're into the final now on August 22.

"We were fortunate to enter two teams into that as we have an abundance of ladies at the club, and our Bradford A team did a clean sweep of the whole of West Yorkshire.

"The Super Eights was more of an introduction for ladies dipping their feet into the hardball game, but the league is more serious, and is for those with more cricket experience."

In the aforementioned BBC feature, Nabila Qayum admits that her dad used to tease her by saying "women can't play cricket".

And that is an attitude the Avenue Ladies are keen to change, with Gavillet saying: "We hope to encourage everyone to play.

"Many people still have the opinion that cricket is a white, middle-class, man's game and that's not the case.

"We want to break down the barriers and have encouraged from the beginning that ability, age, sexual orientation and race don't matter.

"We have South Asians, white girls and Caribbean players in our side and they all bring essential skills, what race they are makes no difference. I wouldn't care if they bled green.

"Giving opportunities to all is top of our agenda."

And the Hundred, which begins next Wednesday, with Graham set to make her bow for the Superchargers next Saturday, should only encourage more women and girls to get playing.

Gavillet said: "I'm very excited for the Hundred, as it will bring in a lot of new talent to the game.

"Having the women play alongside the men on the same day can only be a good thing for exposure too.

"It's clear the ECB recognise how valuable the competition can be and they're investing a lot into it."